Postmortem: Chicago Fire (1) at Seattle Sounders (2)

Message to the guy on the left: Your play was bad enough. Your behavior, even worse. (photo: chicago-fire.com)

Memo to the big guy on the left: Your play was bad enough. Your behavior? Even worse. (photo: chicago-fire.com)

OTF’s Shane Nicholson is back, and keepin’ it real as usual…

Football first, right? Right.

Prevailing story is the Men in Red played well enough to win but didn’t because the defense was a shambles. But the defense has been a shambles all year. This wasn’t news, some sudden revelation on the Fire’s 2013 campaign. Set pieces are a mystery, and on many an occasion the back line has gone MIA from open play.

That said, the show started well with the Fire creating some quality chances early on. Chris Rolfe had a sitter he plowed straight at Gspurning (shocker, I know) before a brilliant piece of work from Dilly Duka on 26 minutes provided a can’t miss opportunity for Mike Magee, who slotted low and right past the Seattle ‘keeper. 1-0 good guys.

Then the comedy of errors kicked off. We’ll get to the handball itself later, as it bridges into the rest of the chat. Seattle’s first goal came from Sean Johnson chasing a cross he’d never get to, leaving his goal exposed. Bakary Soumare retreated and failed to pick up the only person in a green shirt in a position to get a shot on the open goal, Lamar Neagle, who was picked out with ease by Marc Burch to level it at one just shy of halftime.

Magee didn’t return for the second 45 and the match looked to slowly creep away from the Fire. Nyarko’s introduction on 67 minutes didn’t shift the dynamic, and Klopas did his “save a sub for the absolute dying minutes of a match when it’s unlikely to have an impact thing” by bringing on Danny Paladini for the continually ineffectual Rolfe on 84 minutes. Shortly thereafter, the Fire back line struck again when that very f*** angry man Soumare decided clearing a cross at his feet wasn’t really his thing and left it to a blind-sighted Gonzalo Segares, who finished the O.G. quite comfortably. 1-2, game over.

Then the fun began. Soumare, obviously quite proud of his body of work on the season and this night in particular, decided that the Fire’s own Senior Content Producer (aka Editor-in-Chief of chicago-fire.com, aka team Beat Writer) Jeff Crandall was quite poor on the night. You see, Jeff had the audacity to point out (during the match no less) that “Upon further review that was a pretty bad handball,” and it was. It was an egregiously bad handball. I’ve no idea what Jeff Larentowicz was having a go at referee Grajeda about; Soumare’s mock shock and being booked was laughable. There was every chance he was going to be sent off (again) so I’d say getting away with a yellow was a good buy. Luckily for Bad Boy Baky, Johnson made the save (the first missed penalty for the Sounders since 2011) and it looked like we might move past it.

Don't bother looking for this on Twitter. Soumare hit the delete button last night.

Don’t bother looking for this on Twitter. Soumare hit the delete button last night.

But not for the first time this season could an employee of the Fire resist the urge to make a complete and utter cunt of it on social media. Maybe Bakary felt entitled by the week’s long brain-dead response to “The Editorial” from the front office? Maybe he heard about the owner’s friend who cursed at supporters leading to said editorial about abhorrent fan behavior creating a poor atmosphere at Toyota Park? Maybe he remembered the coach who earlier this season offered to “meet” this very writer at his local after I dared point out that Rolfe perhaps wasn’t worth his weight in gold? Whatever the case, Baky thought trolling a co-worker on Twitter (a guy who does his job selflessly, by the way) and responding with the highly clever “Upon further review you are pretty f*** terrible at what you do” was the appropriate course of action.

Oh dear.

I know the Fire Communications staff can’t be responsible for a player acting like a total jackass because he fucked up repeatedly and may have single-handedly cost his team three needed points, but this is as glaring of a trend as the 2013 Fire’s shambolic defense (at least, when Cacha Rios isn’t around). Baky’s tweet was removed, because that’s what resolves the situation, right? But one would suggest, and one who works in the media and has done PR and image consultancy for a fair few years, that the Fire have opened a can of worms with their willingness to blame anyone but themselves for what’s happened on and off the pitch this year.

That US Open Cup collapse may end up being a watershed moment in more than one fashion for this year’s edition. Since then, the downhill trend on the pitch has been matched in its momentum by the negative stories the Fire themselves are creating. At the very least, for a neutral, it could be a hell of a show to watch.

Sadly, for Fire fans, it looks like the promise built upon the acquisition of Magee and that mid-season run will all be for nothing, and the story of this season increasingly looks to have little to do with the football.

One way to get the focus back on the pitch is to get back to winning. The team will have two chances to do that this week starting with a trip to Toronto on Wednesday, and another back home at Toyota Park versus New England on Saturday.

You have to hope they take advantage, or God help us for what we’ll find on our Twitter feeds come Thursday morning.

OTF’s Shane Nicholson is the founder and Executive Editor of TheCoplandRoad.org – He drinks a lot, has a beard, and lives in Rockford. You can find him on Twitter at @ofvoid

8 thoughts on “Postmortem: Chicago Fire (1) at Seattle Sounders (2)

  1. What is it about Kloppas that brings out the worst in this club? I am a new fan of the Fire, but I have been around the game for over 50 yrs, and I am just amazed at how this team continues to shoot itself in the foot.

    Earlier this year I thought most readers here were too rough on the “Kid” but now after just a few months I see that the criticism is well deserved. It’s almost as if he has no clue about what is going on …. and I am starting to sense that he thinks he can just BS everyone.

    As is the norm with the Fire, I was forced to listen to the Spanish language radio broadcast of the game. I do not generally like the male commentary of these games as I generally find the “play-by-play man to be next to useless in describing the action. However, last night I was amazed at his “insight” as he commented on the late substitutions “da Kid” had made.

    He seemed to be reading my mind. He made it clear that earning a point in this game was not enough – we badly needed three points. He repeatedly observed that the team, instead of ratcheting up the effort to break the tie, seemed to be content playing out the game!

    The late and nonsensical substitutions baffled him and even mentioned that it seemed to be a bad pattern of sitting on one goal leads and even useless ties. Then when disaster struck he just kind of lamented, “Well what can you expect when the other team substitutes to add offense and the Fire responds by removing forwards and bringing in midfielders to protect a useless tie. I don’t get it.”

    I don’t either and I have a big problem with that mentality. Maybe “da Kid” knows more than me (a real possibility) but I doubt that he knows more than most of the readers on this blog and that is disheartening because we should be able at least see, or understand, the logic of the moves he makes. Instead we get comments like “WTF is he doing?”

    Really WTF is going on?

  2. Among the most troubling to me is the timing. His handball was in the 28′, and that time stamp says it was two hours after that. I just went through Baky’s 120 ‘follows’ and Crandall isn’t on there – so he likely unfollowed Jeff after this spree of tweet/delete/unfollow action. I don’t know how else to explain it. He was obviously emotional/frustrated after the loss and lacked the social media discipline to leave it alone. Did he just scroll back looking for someone in the Twitter world to validate his opinion of what happened on the call? Or was he specifically looking for someone to go after who was critical of him/the action? Ugh.

    Now is as good a time as ever to bring #JumperIn . Baky now has a red card, hand ball, and deflection that led to OG in his last few games. This will be a great litmus test for the club as a whole. Toronto is a weaker team and they could ‘send a message’ about the behavior against a team without much offensive bite by leaving BS out of the 18. If nothing happends, they’ve not stood behind Crandall, enabled a player with few displays of self control, and confirmed the decision NOT TO apologize for the editorial is a snapshot of their own version of Tradition. Honor. Passion.

    As far as the rest of the post mortem – this makes another set of subs I just don’t understand.

    But hey, Matko will get the video interview for the match preview and answer general questions with coach-speak while Klopas minimizes his minutes in the public down the stretch.

    I really thought if CF97 came together after Soumare, Magee, Rios, Anangono spent some time together on the field with the rest of the core, they’d really have an arrow pointing up at Toyota Park. Instead, we’ll all watch this final stretch with our arms crossed on our chests and we’ll occasionally cover our mouths with our fingertips as we mourn the mistakes and calculate the playoff math that likely won’t add up.

  3. Most likely, he trolled the #cf97 hashtag after the game. And there you have it. I’m 99.9% sure Crandall was in Chicago, live tweeting the game as usual.

    Re: the other stuff, I’m afraid I have to agree with you. Although, with this Sunday’s results, the Fire could be in fourth place by next Sunday with wins on Wednesday and Saturday. Crazy, crazy stuff. The New England game this Saturday night will be a war.

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